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3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  4,758 Ratings  ·  548 Reviews
In this masterful debut that starts off as a mystery and becomes much more, Tora Hamilton is an outsider at her new home on the rocky, wind-swept Shetland Islands, a hundred miles from the northeastern tip of Scotland. Though her husband grew up here, it’s the first time he’s been back in twenty years. Digging in the peat on their new property, Tora unearths a human body, ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published May 27th 2008 by Minotaur Books (first published 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Aug 30, 2016 Magdalena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016

Sharon Bolton has a underbar förmåga att skriva böcker som håller ens intresse uppe från början till slut. Som med alla andra böcker jag har läst av Sharon Bolton så är offer både fängslande och fascinerande att läsa. Men inte bara berättelsen är bra. Karaktärerna; Tora, Duncan, Kenn, Dana och Andy får liv och i och med att det är en thriller så vet man inte heller vem man ska lita på medan man läser boken. Precis som Tora inte hade en aning om vem hon kunde lite på. En sak som j
Jan 20, 2015 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-author, audio
Very enjoyable murder mystery/drama set in the Shetland Islands. I love the characters Bolton creates - they are complex and real which gives her writing depth.
My only complaint is that she went a bit overboard with the details at times but there was only a small amount of shouting 'get on with it'!
The plot is pretty OTT but not in a bad way IMO and although the main character Tora is robust, stubborn and outspoken I really liked her!
It is worth noting that if you like Bolton's Lacey Flint serie
Morana Mazor
Mar 13, 2016 Morana Mazor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Krvava žetva" ima baš sve ono što očekujemo od odličnog trilera!
Zanimljivu, okrutnu priču koja našu pažnju zaokuplja već od samog početka, protkanu dnevnim legendama i sa malom dozom nadnaravnog; životne likove sa kojima se lako poistovjetiti, a sve to izvrsno je smješteno u, divlje, izolirano područje Šetlandskog otočja na sjevernoj obali Škotske.
Surova klima, sivo nebo i uzburkalo more prepuno oštrih stijena savršene su kulise za ovu priču o ritualnim ubojstvima i tajnama koje se skrivaju s
Rating: 4.5 stars

I loved this. It's so creepy and chilling, and packed full of gripping suspense.

Something sinister is happening to young women out on the remote Shetland Islands. Ancient island legends appear to be coming true in the most horrifying of ways, leading the reader into a tension filled page turner.

As Tora (our heroine) begins to uncover disturbing evidence and folklore, everyone falls under suspicion. Many theories are formed, and with one shocking twist after another, my head was
Feb 08, 2016 Stacey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Reading through some negative reviews (rocks among diamonds... There are always a couple...) I have to say I believe that some people become utterly drunk with power if they're given only a tiny drop. Such is often the case with online reader reviews. Given a chance to vent and spew they certainly do. Upon reading their remarks, however, one often can't help but notice a decided lack of CONSTRUCTIVE criticism (points that show the reader actually read the book and remarked with fairness). Now, I ...more
Nov 25, 2011 Hannah rated it really liked it
My first reading experience of author S.J. Bolton, but it will not be my last. Bolton writes the kind of books I especially relish; spooky, mysterious and historical mixed with murder and a dash of romance against an appealing setting (in this case, the wild, lonely Shetland Islands off the northern coast of Scotland).

Bolton's research into some of the ancient legends of the Shetlands is woven into the story and creates a truely atmospheric tale of sacrificial murder, community secrets, page tur
Nov 02, 2012 Brenda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! Just…wow! I’m so glad I decided to read S.J. Bolton's debut novel. I have read more recent ones, and been very impressed, so thought I’d give this one a go!

The story is centred around Shetland Island in Scotland, where ancient legends abound and terrifying stories of mysterious happenings weave their way into everyday life. Tora Hamilton and her husband Duncan had just moved to remote Shetland, and although Duncan was originally from there, he hadn’t been back for 20 years. Tora got herself
Andrew Murray
Oct 20, 2010 Andrew Murray rated it did not like it
Recommended to Andrew by: readers on Goodreads!
I'm very surprised by the number of favourable reviews here on this book. In my view this is a very poorly written piece of fiction - so poor that I gave up after about 70 pages.

Why poorly written? There are too many instances where the writer is "telling" instead of "showing". Whole sections devoted to the obvious research which the writer has done and which she feels needs to be replicated in her novel. I got the impression that she might have used "cut and paste" to lift large chunks of her n
Joanne Sheppard
Like a lot of people, I often aim for an easy read when I'm on holiday. I may not be one for lying on a beach - hence my choice of destination; so far temperatures have peaked at a balmy 13C - but a 'beach read' is still a pleasure now and again even if you're actually reading it in the cabin of an overnight ferry from Aberdeen to Lerwick. On this trip, I opted for Shetland-set thriller Sacrifice by SJ Bolton. I'd read another of her horror-tinged page-turners, Blood Harvest (also on holiday) an ...more
Aug 06, 2008 Dave rated it really liked it
The mystery and suspense in S.J. Bolton's debut novel aren't its only attractions--although there is plenty of both to please the most devoted fan of the genre. For me it was the unique setting and the carefully-crafted backstory that made the book a good read.

Bolton takes us to what seems like the ends of the earth. The setting is actually the Shetland Islands, the wind-racked and wave-torn granite outposts a hundred miles northeast of the Scottish mainland. The damp, violent climate and glower
Sandra Duncan
Sep 15, 2012 Sandra Duncan rated it it was ok
This book is all right as a light read but it has serious flaws.

1. It is far too long. It quickly reached the point for me that I lost patience with the unbelievable plot drivers. Too many people doing too many unexplainably daft things to keep the story going.

2. A whole series of one-dimensional characters - a medical consultant who left all financial dealings to her husband and was unaware that he received regular payments into his bank account from an unknown source!

3. The author has research
Jan 21, 2016 Shaun rated it really liked it
Not my favorite to date, but still a worthy read.

Bolton has a talent choosing and describing interesting, almost exotic, settings, such that they become an integral part of the story.

She also gives her characters believable professions that are intimately tied into the plot and which she portrays with an authority.

My biggest gripe was with the somewhat convoluted twists and turns this story takes. I expect a good story to push the boundaries of believability but this one pushed further than mos
Lance Greenfield
Oct 20, 2011 Lance Greenfield rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grim, gripping and gruesome

There are several intertwined storylines running through this book.

The narration in the first person by Tora Hamilton, a consultant surgeon, an outsider in the Shetland Isles, despite her husband's local roots, works very well.

The whole saga begins with Tora digging a hole in her field to bury the body of her recently deceased horse. She is shocked to find a well-wrapped human body at the bottom of her pit. Is it an ancient burial? Is it a recent murder victim? Who is
Candace Burton
Dear authors of thrillers, please do not construct your narrative so that the protagonist needs to spend several pages creeping around alone, in the dark. You are asking to have pages skipped until quotation marks begin reappearing. Having said this, however, I thought Bolton's first book (I was surprised this was her debut; I read Awakening first and it has such a different and so much less complex construction that I assumed it came first) was pretty clever and a good example of psychological ...more
I couldn't believe this was a debut novel, the writing is slick, compelling and the main character drew me in from the first page.

Tora Guthrie is an obstetrician whose husband, Duncan has brought them back to his home Island of Shetland to live after a twenty year absence, but when he suggests they go 'home', Tora finds a job in the local hospital and Duncan buys an old house.

Things begin to go wrong when Tora accidentally digs up the body of a local woman on her land. Wrapped in linen and burie
Aug 03, 2011 Carol rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those liking fast based thrillers with strong female characters
Recommended to Carol by: Beth M
Shelves: fiction
Beth could say "I told you so". She's the friend who recommended Sacrifice by S.J. Bolton to me some time ago. Who knows why I didn't pick it up immediately as Beth and I have like tastes in fiction; not just in thrillers but across the board. Beth told me I'd like this one and she was right!

Tora Hamilton is having a bad day. Her beloved horse Jamie has died and Tora plans to illegally bury him on her Shetland property. Her husband's away so she'll need to do this alone, no easy task for this in
Mar 30, 2011 Jane rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: passed-on
The setting captured me first: Shetland, subarctic archipelago more than one hundred miles north-east of the Scottish coast. A land of granite and peat bogs, lying under rainy grey skies and battered by wind and waves. It is so vividly captured, so right for the dark, almost gothic, storyline, and its character and legends will become part of that story.

The story opens dramatically, on a stormy evening with the light slowly fading. A woman is determined to give her beloved horse a proper burial,
Shellie (Layers of Thought)

I devoured this murder mystery. It is a definite page turner as the author's writing is easy to follow and kept me up till past midnight.

The story is based lightly upon some ancient myths from where it's set - The Shetland Islands off the Northern Coast of Scotland. This legend involves Nordic trolls (I love trolls), giving this novel a bit of a supernatural edge. However this doesn't shift its anchor in reality. It just gives the story a slight other worldly flavor. Delish!

The story reminded m
Fred Shaw
Oct 19, 2016 Fred Shaw rated it it was amazing
Awesome, awesome, awesome fast paced thriller. Did I mention awesome? I gave it 5 stars, yes FIVE. Sharon Bolton, AKA S.J. Bolton is a skilled, creative writer. This is the 4th of her books I've read and I believe this one's the best. "Sacrifice" was Sharon's debut novel, released in 2008. I have a theory that authors put their best foot forward with their fist. They work hard to create a unique story, to keep the reader's attention, they scrub the results, have it reviewed by many and then scru ...more
The British Isles are replete with folklore, and in the remoteness of the Shetland Islands, natives still tell tales about the Trows, little grey men who fear iron, love silver, and reside in the rolling hillsides. For their race to continue, the Trows must mate with human females. S. J. Bolton, whose given name is Sharon, builds her debut mystery around these legends to great effect.

Tora Hamilton is an OB/Gyn who relocates with her husband, who was born there, to the Shetlands. She enjoys her
After moving to Shetland with her husband, Dr. Tora Hamilton discovers a corpse buried in the peaty soil of the field behind their new home. The body of a young woman, her heart cut out and runes carved into the flesh of her back.

Runes? Bolton introduces the idea to her characters as if no one possibly could have heard of runes before. Or Shetland, as information about the islands feels as if it's been cribbed from Wikipedia, and embellished with descriptions from a Lonely Planet.

Sacrifice isn't
Jul 15, 2015 Siobhan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great debut novel, although not one of my favourite pieces of work by this author. Nevertheless, it is well worth a read!

The book comes with a gripping storyline, questionable characters, twists and turns, and everything else necessary to keep a person on the edge of their seats. From the start you’re curious towards the history of this strange murder, with your interesting growing ever more as the secrets start to unfold. Also for those people interested in romance the book contains aspects to
Aug 30, 2016 Zelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recension: ZellysBokhylla
Jan 21, 2016 Nicole rated it really liked it
I read Bolton's excellent Little Black Lies recently and was anxious to read more by this author. While I don't think Sacrifice was as well-plotted and executed as Little Black Lies, I enjoyed it a lot. I would guess that some of the executional flaws are due to this being her first book, and I'm pretty sure she's gotten better over the years.

In this novel, it was a (surprising, for me) mix of both thriller and the supernatural. The supernatural is almost not there, though a Gothic atmosphere
Dec 30, 2010 Paul rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this thriller and the folk lore element in it. Complete fantasy and I suspect the Shetlands tourist board won't be recommending it!!
Sep 26, 2015 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This was a good read, well-written and exciting, with unexpected plot twists. The fact that it is a debut novel is even more impressive.
Catherine Woodman
Both gripping and gruesome, `Sacrifice' is a definite page-turner, that is certain to keep you on your toes. When I first started reading it I wasn't sure that I'd get far with it, the writing was different to those I had read recently. However within a few chapters I was hooked and racing along with the narrative. Tora Hamilton took me a little while to warm to, perhaps this is why I was unsure at the start but I soon became caught up with her life.
The plot revolves around a discovery Tora mak
May 25, 2011 Sara rated it liked it
Tora Hamilton and her husband Duncan have recently moved from the the British mainland to the remote Shetland Islands, his childhood home and a place to which he hasn't returned since leaving for university. Engaged in her own risky and illegal behavior, burying her beloved horse Jamie, Tora unearths another body altogether, that of a young woman. And that's where the fun begins. Unable to put the woman out of her mind, suspicious of what she perceives as a cover-up, and against direct orders of ...more
Apr 30, 2011 Amanda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
SJ Bolton has just been added to my list of favorite authors!

Sacrifice was my second novel by Bolton; I first discovered this British author with her second novel Awakening—a unique and sharply-written mystery focused around a unexplained exotic snake epidemic in a small Dorset community. Sacrifice, her debut novel, is every bit as dark and compelling with a page-turning plot combining local Scottish lore with the accidental discovery of a murdered woman possessing Norse runes carved into her fl
34 year old Tora Hamilton is a consultant surgeon who has recently moved to the remote Shetland islands with her native Islander husband Duncan, who himself has been away for 20 years. The story begins with Tora digging a hole to bury one of her horses when she discovers the perfectly preserved body of a young woman in the peat soil situated on her newly purchased property. What is even more unsettling for Tora is that the woman's heart has been removed and there are strange symbols carved onto ...more
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  • The Burning (Maeve Kerrigan, #1)
  • The Crossing Places (Ruth Galloway, #1)
  • Red Bones (Shetland Island, #3)
  • House of the Lost
  • Lake of Sorrows (Nora Gavin, #2)
  • The Coroner (Jenny Cooper, #1)
  • The Calling (Hazel Micallef Mystery #1)
  • Blind Fury (Anna Travis, #6)
  • Blacklands
  • Field of Blood (Paddy Meehan, #1)

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“OK, I'll tell you what did it for me. In my third year I read a book by some big obstetrical cheese. There was a whole load of bunkum in it, mainly about how all the problems women experience during pregnancy are due to their own small brains. But the bit that really got me was his dictum about new mothers should wash their breasts before and after each feed.'

Gifford was smiling now. 'And that's a problem because . . . ?'

' Do you have any idea how difficult it is to wash your breasts?' From the corner of my eye, I saw someone glance in our direction. ' New mothers can feed their babies ten times or more in twenty-four hours. So, twenty times a day, they're going to strip to the waist, lean over the basin of warm water, give them a good lather, grit their teeth when the soap stings the cracked nipples, dry off and then get dressed again. And all this when the baby is screaming with hunger. I just thought : I don't care how technically brilliant this man is, he should not be in contact with stressed and vulnerable women.”
Tora Hamilton”
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